Q: Sounds great, so how do I become a Couchsurfer?
A: Okay, so I have intrigued you enough to want to join the project, but where do you begin? First, I urge you to get on the site and browse through some members profiles, in order to become familiar with everything. Here is a screen capture of mine:
Also, it is probably a good idea to start with looking at members that live in your area, since hopefully you will soon be meeting up with them. Definitely check out the most active profiles to get a sense of how to fill yours out.
Once you have spent some time doing this and you are ready to officially join, click the ” Sign Up”? button on the top right of the screen. Please keep in mind that you do not have to go full force in the beginning. This is a free site with absolutely no commitments required. There are many options you can choose depending on how serious you are.
You can simply meet for “coffee or a drink” and you do not even have to offer your couch! Or you can jump in full steam ahead and offer your couch immediately. Just know that Couchsurfing is a very personal experience and there is no one pushing you to do anything.
Create A Profile
After registering, you will need to create your profile. Again, it is solely up to you how much information you offer, however keep in mind that the more information you share the better it is for everyone, because it improves your odds of finding a trustworthy guest and for people to think you are trustworthy as well. Putting up some pictures of yourself is essential. Couchsurfers need to know who they are looking for when they first meet you and it only adds more to your trustworthiness.
The next key thing is receiving your first reference. The more references, the better. Getting the first few can be difficult, so it is helpful if maybe you have a friend or travel partner that can sign up at the same time. This way you can leave mutual references for each other.
If not, start going to the local Couchsurfing meet-ups. You can do this buy searching the ” groups.”? Once you join a group you'll be alerted to any gatherings or events in your area. The Charlotte group seems to have events once a week, whereas when I lived in NYC there were many events to choose from every single day. This is a fast way to make a lot of friends whom are potential positive references!
Another suggestion is to locate the local ” Ambassador/s.”? An Ambassador is a member who has a lot of experience with Couchsurfing and has proven to be a valuable resource to the site and to the area where they reside. They will definitely be a wealth of information.
Remember, move at the pace in which you most feel comfortable. I encourage you to join the group closest to where you live, if nothing else. I strongly believe that once you have dipped your toes into the Couchsurfing water you will quickly want to dive straight in!
Next week, I will be answering the question: ” I am now officially a Couchsurfer, but is it really that safe?“?